I thought JP Hoornstra shared an interesting observation in a brief post at Inside the Dodgers about Correia's performance on Monday, here:
One more postgame note that didn’t quite fit anywhere in the story: One Dodgers player suggested to me that the Twins’ catchers (Kurt Suzuki, Josmil Pinto and Eric Fryer) might have lacked the experience needed to get the most out of Correia during his time in Minnesota. Suzuki is a 30-year-old veteran; Pinto and Fryer are 25 and 28, respectively. Their catchers’ ERA figures correlate inversely to their ages: 4.26, 4.72 and 4.50, respectively. Maybe there’s something to that. Correia certainly was impressed with Ellis’ pitch-calling.JP previously wrote the following in his Daily News story:
Correia said that he shook off catcher A.J. Ellis twice out of 82 pitches, “and he was pretty much right on the ones that I shook.”I've noted before that there's more to being a catcher than his batting average. In fact, I believe that what a catcher does at the plate is far (FAR) less important than what he does behind it.
Given that AJ Ellis has consistently been a league leader in Catcher ERA since becoming an everyday starter tells me more than his paltry below the "Mendoza Line" batting average.
Take a look at these numbers:
2014 Catchers ERA 3.24 (5th in MLB assuming he caught enough games)
2013 Catchers ERA 3.06 (1st in MLB)
2012 Catchers ERA 3.33 (2nd in MLB)
It's about his pitch calling, his preparation, his general understanding of the other batters and his feel for his own pitching staff. It's the kind of things that remains difficult to quantify, so as a consequence many sabermetrically inclined fans often discount these skillsets. Obviously, I believe doing so is a mistake.
AJ Ellis is a fine catcher, and I think that the statistical and anecdotal evidence that exist suggest that he just might be one of the finest in the league.
Pic at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodger 2014.
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